Making A Choice Between All
As always, the right tire choice is reflective of your individual driving conditions.
If youre in the land of four seasons that include winter, summer tires arent an acceptable year-round option. However, if you experience winter conditions, a summer tire/all-season tire rotation is a good way to get the best of both worlds.
Live in a southern region where wintertime is someone elses problem? You might give the edge to summer tires due to the design focus thats reflective of your climate and road conditions.
If you want guidance on whether you should buy an all-season tires or a summer tres, give us a call at 866-961-8668 and we can help.
Summer Tires Vs All Season: Which One Should You Choose
Many drivers have a difficult time deciding whether to choose a summer tire vs an all-season tire. The reality is that your circumstances are different than the next persons and what works best for your vehicle may not be the same for everyone. It doesnt help that theres a lot of jargon in the tire industry that the average consumer may not be familiar with.
The truth is that just because a tire is classified as all-season doesnt mean its the best option for every situation. The name can be a bit confusing without having all of the facts. Some snow tires have great snow grip, while others have next to none. Some are great on damp highways while others are about the same as any summer tire. Today well look at which tire might be the best choice for your needs.
Summer Tires Treadwear Ratings
When developing tires there are usually some tradeoffs when it comes to how much grip you can obtain while also maintaining a balance with long-lasting treadwear. Usually, when you make a tire that has more grip you sacrifice how long that tire is going to last. Just ask anyone that has recently purchased a new sports car that came with summer tires that are designed to last 30,000 miles.
Many people are reporting that they dont last that long, like this article from Edmonds that says that they had to replace their Michelin Pilot Sports on their Corvette Stingray after six months and 13,000 miles. With summer tires the increase in grip usually means a decrease in tread life so keep that in mind.
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My Car Already Comes With All
If you’ve already been driving throughout the year in all-season tires, it’s still important to consider purchasing a set of winter tires, too. Even if you’re taking all the extra precautions to drive safely in the winter, winter tires will be crucial depending on where you live. For example, if your area experiences heavy snow, freezing rain and temperatures drop significantly below zero all winter long, you’ll want to look into investing in winter tires. If you live in an area that experiences minimal snow and temperatures consistently sit around zero, all-season tires may still work for you.
Although not enforced, most provincial governments highly recommend you have winter tires however, keep in mind that some provinces do require you to change to winter tires by a certain date as required by law. This includes Quebec residents who are required to have winter tires on between December 1st and March 15th, and many highways in British Columbia that also require tires to be changed from October 1st to April 30th.8
All Season Tyres Vs Summer Tyres
Many drivers dont understand the advantages of using the correct tyres for the time of year, and arent sure of the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to all season tyres vs summer tyres.
Seasonal tyres can provide the greatest levels of safety for your vehicle, they save you money because they last longer, and they ensure the best possible fuel consumption and the smoothest ride.
Thats not to say that all season tyres arent effective. Not all drivers can spare the money, time and effort involved with buying two complete sets of seasonal tyres and changing them once conditions are suitable.
All season tyres do provide excellent handling and traction in a variety of weather conditions, but during the warmer months, summer tyres perform best.
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What Are The Main Differences
The hard compound used for summer tyres softens when used on warm roads to allow for traction and braking. That means, when used on cold roads, the tyres can seize up, which leads to the treads wearing quicker and the potential for cracks to form on the surface of the tyre.
Being a hybrid of both summer and winter tyres, the rubber compound of all season tyres is designed to be able to cope much better when used on both warm and cold roads. Because of this, the tyres are much less likely to wear quickly or crack, however, they generally will wear quicker than seasonal tyres used during the appropriate season. This means the treads on all season tyres are more likely to wear below the minimum legal limit quicker, and thus will require changing more frequently.
Mounting Summer Tires On A Separate Set Of Wheels
I have two sets of tires for my car, one set of summer tires that I put on in the summer months, the other set are all season tires that I put on in the late fall and use throughout the winter months. What I ended up doing was buying a second set of wheels that I mounted my summer tires on. I then bought new all season tires for the wheels that came with the car.
That way I can just swap out the wheels when I am ready to change out my tires based on what season it is. This is the easiest way to use two different types of tires because you can swap out the wheels yourself and you dont have to mess with having one set of tires removed from your wheels and your other set of tires mounted every year.
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How Do I Know If My Tyres Are All Season
Summer tyres have a sleek appearance, with a larger contact area on the side of the tyres to allow for maximum grip during cornering.
Winter tyres have a much chunkier appearance, with a more complex structure and far more pronounced treads. There will also be a greater number of grooves along the surface of the treads, which are known as sipes.
All season tyres have a hybrid appearance, taking characteristics from both. They have the complex patterns of winter tyres in the centre of the tyre, and the larger contact area of summer tyres on the sides to allow for better maneuvering.
How Can You Make Tires Last Longer
Buying new tires every year can get expensive. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to extend the life of yourtires:
- If you do use summer or winter tires, dont drive on them year-round. Winter tires arent designed to be usedwhen theaverage temperature is above 45 degrees as the rubber will become too soft. Likewise, summer tires will start tolosetraction under 45 degrees.
- Always use the same type of tire on all four wheels. Dont mix-and-match winter with all-season tires. Youllonly endup compromising traction, and the tires will wear unevenly.
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Are Summer Tires Harder Than All
Summer tires are enhanced for better road grip even if its raining heavily, slightly damp or baking hot. They are designed to form a tread material with sticky additives for road grip on wet surfaces.
In addition, this tread blend offers the stiffness required for the tires to hold up and retain their shape even when the heat is on. This minimizes rolling resistance on hot pavement.
Though it may sound like news to most that summer tires outshine all-season tires when it comes to both dry and wet grip, here is something that may surprise: all-season tires dont provide much winter grip at all. They become rigid at cold temperatures and are not a safe option in any ice or snowy conditions.
Want to learn more about whether using all-season tires during the winter in a good idea? Check out our post Can You Use All-Season Tires During Winter?.
Which Tires Are Best For Me
The decision between good summer tires and all-season tires really comes down to where you live and what you expect to encounter on the roads, along with how you drive your vehicle.
Will you experience mild temperatures year-round that are in between hot and cold? Then you probably dont want to worry about storing summer tires and switching to winter tires. Do you experience seriously hot summers where the pavement cracks under the sun? Summer tires might be your best bet for optimum driving experience.
If youre feeling unsure, talk to a tire expert like us! Well guide you to the right choice for your climate, vehicle, and driving habits.
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So Then What Type Of Tire Should I Run
In a perfect world, youd run summer tires for the majority of the year and winter tires for the winter. Its important to keep in mind that summer tires arent limited to use in the summer. The compound they use is capable of handling virtually anything north of freezing, and they do tend to offer better wet traction than all-season tires so long as temperatures dont dip too low.
But because tire theory dictates that theres always a tradeoff, there are no black and white answers. Thats especially true when you consider that different parts of the country experience different climates, and in some cases, the seasons remain fairly unpredictable.
For example, lets say you live in a region where snowfall can happen even through the spring, summers are fairly short, and fall is likely to produce a heavy snowfall before the leaves even change colors. Well, summer tires will be great for a brief couple of months, but running all-season tires is probably your best bet because you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you.
If youre a little further south, summer tires are the clear choice for the hot months, and an all-season tire might take the place of a winter tire as snowfall is rare. There’s also the issue of tire storage it can be pretty hard to own two sets of rubber if you live in a small apartment.
When Is The Best Time To Change My Tires
If your provincial government doesn’t require you to change your tires by a certain date, then ideally you want to change your tires when temperatures are consistently hovering around +7°C or lower. Why that number? With summer tires and eventually all-season tires, the grip starts to compromise once temperatures start dropping and the roads become wet. In comparison, winter tires actually gain grip as temperatures decrease, allowing the rubber to stick better on the roads to prevent slipping. So, around the seven-degree mark is when winter tires start to grip better and outperform summer tires and even all-seasons.9
The same applies when you need to change your tires back to summer/all-season tires. Once the temperatures start warming up to +7°C and higher, it’s time to change out of winter tires to avoid wearing them out.
Whether the province you live in enforces winter tire laws or not, it’s important to know the differences between winter tires and all-seasons. You may be thinking that winter tires are expensive, but when the return on investment is as high as ensuring your safety, it sure does become a wise purchase.
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The Scoop On Summer Tires
Summer tires are specifically engineered to deliver optimum performance in summer conditions and warm climates.
Compared to other seasonal tire types, like winter tires, summer-specific tire performance might not be immediately clear. Arent all quality tires designed to function when conditions are warm, and roads are both dry and wet?
While this is true, summer tires are uniquely focused on ideal performance in only warm conditions, . With other seasonal conditions taken out of the engineering and design equation, tire manufacturers can focus on maximizing tire performance and characteristics for strictly summerlike conditions, and thats a true advantage.
Ultra-High Performance summer tires in particular demonstrate the outstanding results of this narrowed engineering focus. UHP summer tires like the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S deliver truly exceptional warm weather traction and performance in both dry and wet road conditions.
However, the flipside of that warm weather engineering focus is that summer tires have very real, very consequential climatic and road condition limitations. Specifically, summer tires are not engineered to provide sufficient traction when temperatures reach the freezing point. And if theres any standing wintry precipitation on roadways, summer tires wont provide adequate vehicle control, and will most likely leave you immobilized.
Why Do I Need Summer Tires
Summer tires are optimized for excellent road grip whether itâs baking hot, slightly damp or raining heavily on the road. Theyâre made from a tread compound containing sticky additives for road grip in wet conditions. But this tread blend also provides enough stiffness so tires hold up and retain their shape when the heat is on. This keeps rolling resistance to a minimum on hot pavement.
Because these tires are designed for warm seasons, they arenât suitable for winter driving conditions. This includes driving in snow, ice, sleet, and slush â as well as in temperatures that are below 45 degrees. The rubber in the tires was not made to stay flexible during cooler temperatures and driving on summer tires becomes a potential safety risk.
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Can You Use Summer Tires Year
While summer tires live up to their name in the warm season, they aren’t so great in the colder months. Its not advisable to keep summer tires on during the winter, but if you do, you are likely to notice a decrease in performance. The rubber compounds in summer tires are specifically designed to withstand the heat during the warmer season. But when the temperature drops below 40°F, the rubber in your summer tires can become rigid and stiff, leading to decreased performance, reduced traction, and poor handling.
Just as the rubber compound in summer tires is not designed for winter, summer tire tread is not meant to withstand winter roads. While reduced grooving on summer tires keeps more rubber on the road, it also means less grip in the winter. This is where all-season tires come in. The tread depth and design, as well as the rubber compound on all-season tires, is engineered to withstand colder temperatures and help you maintain traction and control during the winter. So, once the temperature dips, it’s best to switch to winter or all-season tires.
Summer Tires: The Mild
Summer tires are made of a stickyrubber compound designed to provide maximum traction in warm weather. The tiresoffer great performance in cornering, accelerating and braking, but are only attheir best when temperatures are above 40 degrees. Because of that stickyrubber, summer tires wear down faster than all-season tires, resulting in muchshorter tread life.
These tires are suitable for sports cars, performance-oriented vehicles, summer vehicles, drivers who live in warm climates and anyone who wants maximum traction in summer.
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Tire Usage By Location
Southern states like Florida, Georgia, and parts of Texas and California can mostly use summer or all-season tiresyear-round. As you go up north, youll start to see more and more states where all-season or winter tires are thenormin colder months.
The northernmost parts of the country, as well as a good chunk of the Midwest, rely on winter tires to make itthroughthe snowy season. Alaskans, of course, rely on winter tires for a large part of the year, while Hawaiians enjoy warmweather and only use summer or all-season tires.
What Are The Differences Between Summer Tires Vs All Season Tires
Are you in the market for new tires and wondering what the difference is between summer tires vs all season tires? Well, the main difference is that summer tires are designed to be used in the warm summer months while all season tires are designed to be used year-round. Why would you want to put summer tires on your car then?
The main reason is the performance benefits that summer tires provide. Because summer tires dont need to have a lot of sipes to gain traction on snow and ice they can be designed to provide optimal grip during the summer months.
So then which are better summer tires or all season tires? The answer is it depends on how you plan to use your car. Let me explain.
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When Should Tires Be Replaced
The traditional recommendation is to replace tires when the treads reach 2/32 deep. If you can tuck a penny in thetread and see the top of Abe Lincolns head, its time to change the tires. When they wear to that point, thereisntenough tread left to stop the car effectively, especially at higher speeds.
To easily measure 4/32, just swap out the penny for a quarter. There is about 4/32 between the edge of the coinandthe top of George Washingtons head.
One stopping test compared two sets of tires: one worn to 2/32 of an inch and the other to 4/32 of an inch. Notsurprisingly, the stopping distance of the 2/32 tires took 100 more feet and over a second longer to come to a stopthan the 4/32 tires. Tires can be expensive to replace, but changing them sooner rather than later is the safestbet.
Winter tires need a bit more tread and should be changed when they wear down to 6/32 of tread. The softer rubber ofwinter tires needs more tread to work effectively in snowy and icy conditions.